The Gombe zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested eight individuals for producing and selling adulterated fertilizer in Gombe Metropolitan City and Lariski village of Kirfi Local Government Area, Bauchi State.
The suspects are: Usman Shawari, Adamu Abdulhamid, Dahiru Salisu and Dahiru Muhammad.
Others are Abdullahi Maidawa, Suleman Ahmed, Muhammed Aliyu and Ibrahim Musa.
The arrested suspects specialized in adulterating genuine fertilizer purchased from recognized companies like Indorama and the Federal Government fertilizer, with sand. They then package the adulterated fertilizer in the bags of the original companies without authorisation, and then sell same as genuine to unsuspecting farmers at same price.
Investigations revealed that the sand is often more than two-third of the bags content, giving it the false feel that it was more than the normal one.
Parading the suspects on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, Michael Wetkas, Zonal Head, said the Commission received intelligence report through the zone’s Intelligence and Special Operations Section, ISOS, on July 27, 2019 and immediately swung into action. The illegal factories located at Lariski Village, Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, and Gombe Metropolis were raided, and the suspects rounded up.
Further investigations showed that other places where the illegal activities were taking place, include Commercial Area (Kasuwan Goro) and Gombe New Market (Kasuwan Doya), both in Gombe Local Government Area. Fully loaded truck of 600 bags and two Toyota Tacoma pick-up vans of 81 bags of adulterated fertilizer were intercepted by operatives.
Wetkas said: “We will do everything within our powers to make sure that this stops, because this is the zenith and pinnacle of wickedness of man to man, our farmers in the rural areas go through a lot to afford a bag of fertilizer and these people are there defrauding innocent farmers.”
He further took journalists on a tour to Lariski village where the suspects were arrested, and where the illegal factory was located along with a warehouse where they were being stored before being taken to market for sales.
He encouraged the farmers to volunteer more information to the Commission, stressing that “our doors are always open to receive information and intelligence report anonymously”.
His words: “In view of the danger this heinous act poses to national food security and the negative implication on the economy most especially the devastating effect on the peasant farmers who go through hell to afford a bag of fertilizer, the Commission is hereby notifying the general public more especially the farmers to be vigilant and report such fraudulent acts for immediate action.”